An Ordinary Day in Siwa.
While we stayed in Siwa, Egypt, we spent our days in search of light. We woke up at 5:30 to prepare our cameras. We usually prefer not to get up early, but in Egypt, everyone does, and despite the unusual hours, we were not tired. After a shower, we left our hotel with our camera bag and tripod.
We went to the old city of Shali to photograph the houses at dawn. At that hour, the streets are deserted and the shutters are closed. The city is silent. It's a magical moment that we treasured because we knew that in an hour, the day would start and the city would be bustling with donkeys, bicycles and taxis.
Outside the old city, we decided where we should go to take advantage of the light from the rising sun. That day, we chose to climb up above the city. The last two mornings had not been successful. We had not taken a single interesting photograph, because the sun was hidden behind mist and clouds of sand and dust. The sun had not yet begun to warm the air, and, despite our keffiyehs, we felt the cold creep under our clothes. The village of Siwa and the city of Shali were bathed in soft light, but there was no contrast.
We set up all of our gear. We had to be ready, because we only had fifteen minutes to take the pictures we wanted. The magical moment never lasts long. That was part of why we went to the same place every morning.
The sun rose, and the light was beautiful. The contrasts in the city were brilliant, and the stone glowed. Everything was perfect, and we were in high spirits. We always enjoy unique moments like this. We simply have to take pictures. We said nothing, silently relishing the beauty of this unrepeatable, magical moment.
After 30 minutes, we decided to go back to our hotel for breakfast. We finally had the pictures we wanted.
The village began to stir. Shopkeepers opened their shutters and prepared their stalls for the day. Trucks brought goods to grocery stores. The hum and turmoil of daily life was beginning. After breakfast we walked through the dusty streets, looking for scenes from daily life. I went to the southeast quarter and Isabelle chose the northern district. The day before, we had noticed women leaving a house, and guessed that they met there every day, away from prying eyes. We were right. We took some beautiful photos of them. After we split up, we also found some delightful scenes. Overall, it had already been a very successful morning.
After a siesta in the early afternoon, we decided to continue the series on daily life. We sat on a wall in the central square, equipped with telephoto lenses so that we could take our photos remotely and avoid disturbing the people.
Life in Siwa exemplifies the calm, serene spirit of Egyptian villages. Time passes slowly there, for those who savor the moment.